Cervical Cancer Treatment Options
Treatment of cervical cancer depends on the extent of the cancer, the size
and shape of the tumor, the age and general health of the woman, and her
desire to have children in the future.
Most cervical cancers are treated by either surgery, radiation, or a combination
of both therapies.
The most common surgical procedure for early cervical cancer is radical
hysterectomy - the removal of the uterus, tissues surrounding the cervix
and the lymph nodes. Some women will require radiation with or without
chemotherapy following a radical hysterectomy. The decision to remove
the fallopian tubes and ovaries (bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy) is individualized.
Since cervical cancer is often diagnosed in young women, surgical advances
have been made allowing these women to preserve fertility at an important
time – their reproductive years. One of these surgical advances
is a radical trachelectomy, when the cervix and surrounding tissues are
removed, but the uterus remains, allowing a woman to carry a pregnancy.
This is an option for some early-stage cervical cancer.
Many patients with early cervical cancer are candidates for minimally
invasive surgery, either through standard laparoscopy or robotically.
Hoag’s Gynecologic Robotic Surgery Program offers a team of experienced physicians who are specialty-trained in using
the da Vinci robot for hysterectomy – the most advanced minimally
invasive approach to hysterectomy available today.
There are substantial benefits to the patient for choosing minimally invasive
robotic surgery, including:
- Less post-operative pain and scarring
- Decreased blood loss and lower risk of blood transfusion
- Lower risk of infection
- Shorter hospital stay
- Faster return to normal activities
For women with advanced-stage cervical cancer, treatment combining radiation
therapy and chemotherapy remains the standard of care.
Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, uses high-energy X-rays or other types
of radiation to stop cancer cells from growing or kill them entirely.
If radiation is necessary, it is generally used following surgery to kill
any remaining cancer cells. There are two types of radiation therapy used
to treat endometrial cancer:
External radiation therapy: Uses a machine that directs the radiation towards
an exact area of the body.
Internal radiation therapy (or brachytherapy): In this situation, only
the lining of the vagina is treated with radiation.
Hoag Radiation Oncology
Hoag Family Cancer Institute offers a state-of-the-art facility for radiation
therapy, equipped with the latest in radiation technology, handled by
an expert team of radiation oncologists, medical physicists, medical dosimetrists,
radiation oncology nurses and radiation therapists. Hoag’s Radiation
Oncology department is the highest volume provider in Orange County, treating
over 100 patients per day.
Learn more about
Hoag Radiation Oncology.
Chemotherapy for endometrial cancer involves the use of drugs to kill cancer
cells. It is usually given intravenously, through the veins, and treatment
may be administered either at the doctor’s office or in an outpatient center.
Chemotherapy can be an effective treatment for endometrial cancer that
has spread outside the uterus because it travels through the bloodstream,
reaching all parts of the body. However, the same drugs that kill cancer
cells can also damage healthy cells. Chemotherapy is generally given in
cycles, with periods of treatment alternating with periods of rest.
Download the Gynecologic Cancer Care PDF.